Results of the recent JET Programme has been sent out over the past few days and to those who made it, a huge congratulations! The next thing’s the interview, which may be a little nerve-wracking but you’ve gotten this far, and after this, you practically have nothing else to do but to wait.
This post is, however, written more for people who didn’t make it but are crazy enough like myself to want to stay in Japan for a bit to get whatever experience they can get, yet at the same time worry about the amount of money that will likely be needed. Fret not, if you’re a hardworker and are willing to do some work for that bit of experience. Sure, you can’t really work without valid work visa or company hiring you but an organisation called WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms) gives you exactly that opportunity. The catch is, you will be working as a volunteer, which means no salary. But, you get free accomodation and 3 meals everyday, so you only have to pay for your transportation here.
Well, that’s not really true. You also have to pay around SGD$80 for a 1-year membership for WWOOF Japan (every country’s membership cost is different and yes, it’s pretty much all over the world), but that’s about all you need to pay! Now you’re probably curious about the kind of work you’ll be doing. Although the name says organic farms, I’ve done 2 in pension houses which includes preparation of meals for guests, cleaning up guests’ rooms after they leave, cleaning up the area, washing dishes and rarely go on camps with elementary school kids. But only 1 of them owns an organic farm, so at the 2nd place, we didn’t have to go down to any farm to do anything there.
You probably don’t have much information about the owners from the websites so I can only wish you luck on choosing a good host. We’ve heard not so good stories about some of the owners and I personally experienced one myself. Anyway, working hours and workload also vary from place to place. Of course the quality of the 3 meals you get also differs from owner to owner. The good news is, you get to negotiate with the owners online first, and if both parties agree to the condition, then you go!
The thing I like about it is that you also get to meet people from all over the place and still speak Japanese in this country. At one pension I was at, there were Austrian, Israeli, Italian, Australian and Japanese and sometimes we conversed in Japanese because everyone wants to learn. The Italian girl wanted to practice her Japanese language skills so much, she convinced the owner to let her bring the guests’ meals and take orders of their drinks.
Anyhow, I really hope what little information I can offer is enough to help people who share the same passion. Lucks!